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Provisions for Children in Need under S. 17

Duncan Lewis Children Lawyers – Provisions for Children in Need under S. 17


Section 17 (also called S.17) under the Children Act 1989 is used when a child is classed as in need – for example if they are disabled and have special needs, or have a health issue which may affect their standard of living or development without the necessary support.


A Section 17 may also apply to mental health needs as well as physical health needs – and may also involve physical, emotional, intellectual, social or behavioural development needs.


Under S.17, the local authority has a legal duty to provide any services a child needs to help them – but parents may be required to pay for the services unless they are in receipt of out-of-work benefits or other benefits.


Local authorities can also approve cash help to families who have children with special needs – including children who might have been born with a condition which means they require extra support, or have an acquired condition through illness or accident.


The Department of Health has published guidance for local authorities to help analyse how a child in need might be helped.


The Framework for the Assessment of Children and their Families 2000 sets out how a child might be helped and their developmental needs – as well as how to protect children in need from harm and how their families can help meet a child’s needs.


Once a child has been classed as having special needs, the local authority must offer a range of services to the family and the child, such as:

  • Advice
  • Counselling if needed
  • Domestic help for the family
  • Holiday assistance for the child and family
  • Travel assistance to any agencies or services provided
  • Social and leisure activities.
Section 17 and Section 47 Children Act 1989


If a child is considered in need and social workers conclude they are at risk of harm or have already suffered harm, a Section 47 enquiry might be launched requiring an investigation by Social Services, who may consider:

  • Taking the child into care for their own protection
  • Arranging a Child Protection Conference with the child’s parents, guardians or carers
  • Putting in place a Child Protection Plan, which will be reviewed after three months.

It is crucial for parents faced with a Section 47 enquiry and a Child Protection Conference to contact a specialist child care lawyer as soon as possible to ensure that their views and those of their child are represented at the meeting.


Duncan Lewis children lawyers can also advise on Section 17 Provisions for a Child in Need – and how to ensure a child receives the support they need from the local authority.


Duncan Lewis can also advise parents, guardians or carers on Judicial Review to challenge a decision by the local authority in a case involving S.17 provisions for a child in need.


Duncan Lewis is ranked by the Legal 500 2014 for its Family & Matrimonial work – and the Duncan Lewis team includes Advanced Members of the Law Society’s Family Panel, and members of the Law Society Children Panel – so our team is well placed to help you with any Section 17 and child protection matters.


Duncan Lewis Children Lawyers – Fixed Fees & Legal Aid – Section 17 Provisions for Children in Need


Duncan Lewis children lawyers offer a fixed fee for an initial client interview and assessment of a private child matter involving S.17 provisions for a child in need.


After a case has been assessed, it is usually possible for a fixed fee arrangement to be put in place – and Duncan Lewis will always advise clients of the costs in advance.


Duncan Lewis is also one of the UK’s largest providers of Legal Aid family law services – including child care law – and in some cases may be able to offer Legal Aid funding for child care cases.


Duncan Lewis child care lawyers always advise clients who are seeking help with child care matters – including S.17 provisions for children in need – to get in touch as soon as possible so the issues can be resolved and appropriate action can be taken to obtain the support a child needs.


For expert legal advice on all child care matters – including Section 17 provisions for children in need – contact Duncan Lewis Children Lawyers on 020 7923 4020.

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